14 September 2021
ICHR condemns the death sentence rendered by the Gaza Court of First Instance
On 12 September 2021, the Gaza Court of First Instance sentenced to death by hanging M. H., a 34-year-old resident of the Khan Yunis refugee camp, on charges of the premeditated murder of M. A on 26 September 2019. M. H. was also charged with the possession of a firearm without a licence and in illegal circumstances, attempted murder, and opening fire in a populated area in violation of the provisions of Palestinian laws.
The Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) condemns death sentences which continue to be rendered by courts in the Gaza Strip. Since the beginning of 2021, 11 death sentences have been entered, impinging on civil, political, and economic, and social human rights enshrined in laws and regulations. Capital punishment is a form of torture and, consequently, seriously undermines the dignity of the human person.
The ICHR renews its call for ensuring guarantees of the rights of persons sentenced to death. The ICHR further stresses that death penalty may only be carried out pursuant to a final judgement rendered by a competent court after legal process which gives all possible safeguards to ensure a fair trial. These should be at least equal to those contained in Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, including the right of anyone suspected of or charged with a crime for which capital punishment may be imposed to adequate legal assistance at all stages of the proceedings.
Against this background, while it does not underestimate their gravity, the ICHR condemns crimes of murder. Stressing the need to avoid impunity, the ICHR demands that a moratorium be established on the use of the death penalty in consistence with the international community effort to abolish capital punishment. To ensure the full implementation of the rule of law, death penalty should be replaced by another that achieves justice in the context of the philosophy of criminal justice